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Conservation-Glut: Saving and Sharing Nature in the Era of Platform Capitalism

Authors: Bram Büscher*, Sociology of Development and Change, Wageningen University
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Human-Environment Geography, Cyberinfrastructure
Keywords: platform capitalism, conservation, nature 2.0, algorithm, political economy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2020
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual Track 1
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


With the emergence of digital social media, we seem to have entered a world where ‘sharing nature’ has become an acute paradox: while pristine, wild and well-conserved nature has become increasingly scarce and exclusive in our Anthropocene world, it is excessively abundant and joyously celebrated online. More than that: due to technological web 2.0 possibilities, we now all share, mediate and co-create nature simultaneously, something I refer to as ‘nature 2.0’. Conservation actors play a major role in this ‘paradox of sharing nature’; they increasingly employ online nature 2.0 in order to save offline natures. In this presentation I explore the consequences and limits of this strategy, and how it changes conservation politics. I argue that it leads to ‘conservation-glut’: an excessive amount of conservation possibilities online that distract from the real dangers of embedding conservation in a political economy of platform capitalism and its algorithmic logics.

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